20-in-'12: Albertus Magnus girls hoops
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Coach: Pat Buckley (2nd year)
Last year's record: 19-2 (lost to Pearl River in the Section 1 Class A semifinals)
Returning Starters: 1
Maeve Parahus (junior, guard) — This lanky 6’0” junior has already received an offer from Manhattan College. An inside-out player, she’ll be responsible for defending the tallest player on the opposite team. Her size and skill lends her the unique ability to take smaller players to the rim while forcing the bigger defenders to move out and cover her on the perimeter.
Kelly Guarino (sophomore, guard) — At 5’6”, this sophomore guard will have big shoes to fill as she takes over for departed Felicia DaCruz, currently the starting point guard at Fairfield University. Despite tearing her ACL in April, Kelly rehabbed her way back in just 6 months to rejoin the team. Guarino got lots of playing time off the bench last season and expected to play a large role for the Falcons.
Names to learn
Ryan Doherty (sophomore, guard) — Another sophomore, Doherty hopes to build upon her freshman season. The 5’7” shooting guard will be a fixture in the starting lineup and adds to the dangerous outside game of the Falcons.
Madison McGrath (freshman, guard)— McGrath is a 5’5” freshman guard and a pure shooter who will be relied upon to provide a spark off of the bench. She is capable of entering a game and hitting quick shots to boost the Falcons offense or put the game away.
Jan. 6 at Tappan Zee, 4 p.m. — A Rockland County rival, Tappan Zee will be a true test for Magnus. Along with Pearl River, Tappan Zee and Magnus will most likely be the dominant forces in the class so every time those teams meet up is of the utmost importance.
Jan. 20 vs. Pearl River, 7 p.m. — Magnus lost just two games last year, both to Pearl River and one in the section semi-finals. The Falcons will definitely be looking for revenge in this first of two meetings of the 2012 season.
Colleen Power 5-8, F, senior
Glynnis Widmer 5-7, G, senior
Sarah Russell 5-6, G, senior
Diana Siclari 5-8, F, senior
Maeve Parahus 6-0, SF/PF, junior
Monica Galvin 5-10, F, junior
Dana O’Sullivan 5-7, F, junior
Meghan Reilly 5-5, G junior
Kelly Bakker 5-10, F, junior
Kelly Guarino 5-6, G, sophomore
Ryan Doherty 5-7, G sophomore
Christine O’Riordan, 5-10, F, sophomore
Madison McGrath, 5-5 G, freshman
Story of the season
Albertus Magnus only lost twice last year. After defeating Pearl River in their first meeting, the Falcons lost to Pearl River the next two times they faced them. Unfortunately for Magnus, the second time came in the the Section 1 Class A semifinals.
Magnus returns just 1 starter this season in junior Megan Parahus. They said farewell to two prolific scorers currently starting for their respective college squads in Felicia DaCruz (Fairfield University) and Megan Richards (Nyack College).
“Nobody is expecting us to make a lot of noise,” Buckley said. “We definitely are talented enough to go out and beat these teams but we have to go out and do it, but the underdog role is a good role.”
The Falcons are a young team but they can still put experience on the floor. Seniors Glynnis Widmer and Colleen Power are proven defenders and will relied upon to mentor the younger players and maintain the strategy that has proven successful for Magnus in the past.
The best way to sharpen a young team is to let them forge their character against the best competition. Magnus will host their own tournament, inviting Maria Regina and Notre Dame Catholic from Utica, NY. Coach Buckley will return the favor by bringing the Falcons to the Juggler Classic in Utica, expanding beyond the sphere of Rockland basketball.
The plan for Magnus will be to let their athletes work on both sides of the ball. Though they might not be as physical and experienced as they were last year, they hope to rely on the natural talent of their youth.
“Our style right now is to play an upbeat, high tempo game,” Buckley said. “It’ll be full-court pressure and trying to run as much as possible. We have some pretty good skill players who can shoot so we’ll try to spread the floor out and give them the opportunities to make plays.”
With two sophomores in the starting lineup, and a freshman waiting to earn minutes, Buckley is going to field a team through the fire of competition. Magnus will rely on the versatility of Parahus to cause havoc among opposing defenders while the young players find their identity.
The Falcons are simultaneously a team with a lot to prove, as well as one with pressure to succeed.
“It’s a new look team with new faces,” Buckley said. “I think we can be as successful as our past teams, and some things have to go our way, but the experience as the season goes on is really going to help these girls.”
Parahus will be the anchor but the underclassmen will have to prove themselves if the Falcons are to be successful. If they can come together as a team and be productive early, they will lay a foundation for years to come in Class A.